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Friday, December 24, 2010

Latkes and Applesauce

Latke, Bourek, Applesauce (on plate.)
As mentioned before, Hanukkah is a holiday about Oil, and so one of the most well-known and traditional of Hanukkah dishes is the latke, also known as the potato pancake. There's many different styles of latke, but in general, they all contain potatoes, onions, matzo meal, and are all shallow-fried in oil of some variety, usually a neutral- or lightly-flavored oil like rapeseed, vegetable, or corn oil. Developing after the age of exploration, our modern potato latkes are a very Germanic/Eastern European—and therefore Ashkenazic—Jewish concept.

Modern Sufganiyot
In the Israeli Jewish tradition, doughnuts called sufganiyot—very similar to paczki—are served. Elsewhere, deep- or shallow-fried cheese is served. (Thus, breaded and fried mozzarella sticks could be considered hanukkah food, if you wished...) The common denominator is frying in oil, of course, and it's quite possible that prior to the introduction of the potato, other starchy vegetables, or indeed other non-starchy vegetables, could have been used in the same fashion, to create similar items. Perhaps this merits some exploration and experimentation when there's more time at hand.

In my family, latkes usually get served with sour cream and applesauce on the side, which encompass the two ways that potato pancakes seem to be served wherever they appear—that is to say, sweet and savory.

My friend Red, who hosted the Hanukkah dinner, made our latkes, and will be shortly putting up a post over at Miss Kagashi's blog, and that is at this very location.

Apples, soon to become sauce.
12 apples - use a variety, and don't use tart apples. I did 3 each of Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Golden Delicious.
2 cups (551 ml) sweet (as opposed to hard) apple cider
4 tbsp (60 ml) Southern Comfort (or Brandy, or Barenjager, your choice)
4 tbsp (60 ml) butter
6 tbsp (90 ml) honey
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon

1.) Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Combine all ingredients in a stockpot—this will all fit in an 8-quart/8 liter pot.

2.) Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the apples are tender. Mix occasionally during the cooking.

3.) Using a potato masher, an immersion blender, or a food mill (or a combination of the three) break down the apples into a smooth sauce. Some texture should persist, but there shouldn't be big lumps.


  1. Oh hai.

    Now we both have blogs.


  2. Excellent. It's a good way to have other things to do with your time, isn't it?


Your opinions and comments always are welcomed, but do be civil... this isn't a kitchen, after all.